Protect crops against pests and diseases naturally

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Chemicals are easy to use as protection against pests and diseases but they cause great harm to humans, animals, beneficial organisms and the environment. Natural crop protection methods are safer and cheaper for farmers.

As the pressure of pests and diseases continue to mount at this time of the year, many farmers are looking out for quick solutions with most of them rushing to shops for quick fixes which result in heavy use of harmful synthetic chemicals. What many farmers are oblivious about is the long term effect of heavy use of synthetic chemicals to their health, livestock, crops and the environment.

Chemical pesticides intended for pest control are often toxic, and therefore hazardous to humans, animals, other organisms and the environment. Health effects of pesticides may be acute or delayed to those who are exposed. Research has established that acute health problems may occur in workers that handle pesticides, such as abdominal pain, dizziness, headaches, nausea, vomiting, as well as skin and eye problems.

Synthetic chemical pesticides harmful to humans

The long term effects may include leukemia, lymphoma, brain, kidney, breast, prostrate, pancreas, liver, lung and skin cancers. Strong evidence links pesticide exposure to birth defects, foetal death and altered foetal growth. Pesticide exposure may result in reduced fertility in males, genetic alterations in sperm, a reduced number of sperm and altered hormone function.

Dangerous to livestock

Livestock can be affected by pesticides due to their high toxicity. The harmful compounds are absorbed through the skin, lungs, eyes, and from the digestive tract. In livestock, exposure to chemicals may cause inflammation of the digestive tract causing diarrhoea, abdominal pain, thirst, weaknesses, respiratory failures, among others.

They kill beneficial insects

The chemicals also kill beneficial insects like bees which are very crucial in pollination. In bees, which not only give us honey but are the major pollinators, chemicals have been known to wipe out bee populations with disastrous effects to agricultural production. Other beneficial insects which have been victim to chemical use include parasitic wasps and lady birds that control natural harmful pests such as thrips, worms and caterpillars naturally.

Farmers have better alternatives which are natural and safe. The following are some of the organic products that control pests in an environmentally friendly way:

Diatomite

Tiny microscopic organisms that pierce and kill pests on contact. They target pests such as weevils, aphids and mites. Diatomite also contains micronutrients such as calcium, phosphorous and magnesium. It is available at the African Diatomite Industries (ADL) in Gilgil.

Thuricide HP®

This is a bio-pesticide that controls nematodes such as leaf chewing larvae of lepidopteran insects. It does not harm beneficial insects. It is available at Farmchem Ltd.

Clean start®

It is a fungicide that is also used as a root guard, phosguard, humus and natural wet. The fungicide controls fusarium, scietoria, rhizoctonia, pithium among diseases. It is good for tomatoes, potatoes, cabbages, capsicums, passion fruits, avocadoes among others. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Pyegar®

This is a plant extract-based product that repels and controls most insect pests. It is non-toxic to mammals, bees, fish and other micro-organisms. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Nimbecidine®

This is neem extract biopesticide that controls nematodes, mites and other pests. It does not harm beneficial pests and is available at Osho chemicals Ltd.

GC-3®

It is a garlic extract with properties that control powdery mildew and 11 other species of fungi. It has no serious toxicity effect and is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Rootguard®

This is a fungicide and pesticide that controls most fungal diseases such as botrytis and pests like caterpillars, diamondback moth, among others. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Fosphite®

It is used as both fungicide and fertilizer. It contains potassium salts and phosphorous which control mildews, leaf spot, blights, fusarium, damping off, rootrot and rust. Fosphite has a long lasting effect for about 28 days. It should not be mixed with copper-based fungicides. It is important to allow 20 days before applying it to copper treated crops. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Pyneem 20EC®

This is a biological pesticide that contains pyrethrins and neem oil among other inert ingredients. It controls most pests during the growth phase of affected crops. It is safe for mammals and soil micro-organisms. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

PL Plus®

This is a biological nematicide that contains Parcolemus lilacinous which kills nematode eggs and young nematodes. The compound lasts long in the soil. It is available at Juanco SPS Ltd.

Farmers can contact these companies through telephone contacts shown below:

Juanco SPS 020 2088 793.

Osho Chemicals 254 20 3912000

Farmchem Ltd 020 55271 or 020550 448.

African Diatomite Industries 0722 277 120

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